Sunday, June 2, 2013

Creamy Chicken and Roasted Red Pepper Pasta

I love this recipe.   The roasted red peppers make it taste like I spent the whole day cooking but in reality, I only spent about half an hour.  

Creamy Chicken and Roasted Red Pepper Pasta

  • 1lb bowtie pasta
  • 1 1/2lbs cooked chicken, sliced or cubed
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, crushed and chopped
  • 4T butter
  • 1c half and half, room temperature
  • 1c chicken broth
  • 1t seasoned salt
  • 12oz jar roasted red peppers, sliced (these are usually found on the condiment isle)
  • 1c mozzarella, shredded
  • Fresh parsley or basil, chopped
Cook the pasta according to the package.  While it cooks, melt the butter in a skillet over medium heat and cook the onion and garlic til soft.  Whisk in the half & half and chicken broth.  Stir in the seasoned salt and mozzarella.  Lower the heat to keep the sauce from boiling.

Add the chicken and red pepper slices to the sauce.  Stir frequently and keep an eye on the heat so it doesn't boil.  Drain the cooked pasta and stir it together with the sauce.  Add chopped parsley or basil when serving.

Recipe from Six Sisters' Stuff

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Chicken Cordon Bleu Casserole

I love to make casseroles.  They are quick and easy and everyone seems to like them, but I get tired using the same ingredients over and over.  Even though this is a chicken casserole, it doesn't taste like every other one.  Adding the ham and the sauce makes this a very unique and tasty meal.

Chicken Cordon Bleu Casserole

  • 2c cooked rice
  • 3c cooked chicken, cut into 1 inc pieces
  • 6 slices of swiss cheese (or enough to cover, if slicing it yourself)
  • 10 slices of deli ham, chopping
  • 2 cans cream of chicken soup
  • 1/2c milk
  • 1/2c sour cream
  • 1/2c bread crumbs (or 10 saltine crackers)
  • 1/2t paprika
  • 1/4t garlic salt
  • 1/2t parsley

Coat a 9x13 baking dish with cooking spray

Spread the cooked rice on the bottom of the baking dish.

Layer the chicken pieces on top of the rice.

Arrange the swiss cheese over the chicken.

Spread the ham on top of the swiss.

In a separate bowl, mix the cream of chicken soup, milk and sour cream.  Spread on top of the ham.

Mix together the bread crumbs, paprkia, garlic salt and parsley.  Spread on top of soup mixture.

Bake at 350' for 30 minutes.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Cherry Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars

For Valentines Day, this year, I decided to make it fun for the kids and do a Pink & Red themed dinner.  For all the work I put in to it, the kids were only mildly impressed but everyone LOVED the Cherry Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars.  

I found this recipe on the amazing website, Sweet Basil.  If you haven't already, you should stop by and check out all the other recipes; they are wonderful.

Cherry Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars

  • 16oz package refrigerated Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough
  • 3/4c Oats
  • 8oz cream cheese, softened
  • 1/4c sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1t vanilla
  • 21oz can Cherry Pie filling
  • 1/3c shredded coconut

Preheat the oven to 350'

In a large bowl, break up the refrigerated dough.  Using your hands, knead in the oats and mix until evenly incorporated.  Press 2/3 of the dough into a lightly greases 8x8 inch square pan.  

Bake for 12-14 minutes or until the crust is just set.

In a small bowl, lightly beat the egg and set aside.  In another bowl, beat the cream cheese until smooth with no lumps.  Beat in the sugar, then stir in the vanilla and egg.  Spread the cream cheese mixture over the top of the cookie crust.

Pour the cherry pie filling evenly over the cream cheese layer.  Evenly sprinkle the remaining cookie dough over the top, then top with the shredded coconut.

Bake for 20-25 minutes or until set and lightly golden.  Let cool completely, then cover and refrigerate for 2-3 hours.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

The Best Dang Beef Pot Roast

Some days this is exactly how I feel.  Just had to share.

The Best Dang Beef Pot Roast

  • Small to medium size rump roast
  • 1 envelope onion soup mix
  • 1 envelope brown gravy mix
  • 1 individual size serving apple sauce
  • 2c water
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 small bag sliced carrots
  • 2 medium to large size potatoes, cut up
  • 1/2 yellow onion, sliced
  • 1 stalk celery
Sear the roast in a frying pan with a small amount of oil.  Sear it well on all sides.
Put the roast, then vegetables in the crock pot.  Mix envelope mixes with water and applesauce, then pour over all.

Set crock pot on low and let it cook for at least 8-10 hours.  

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Baked Churros

My kids have gotten it into their heads that if they eat their dinner, they always get a dessert.  Seeing how I don't make a lot of desserts, this has caused a bit of a dilemma.  I found this Churro recipe and loved how easy it was to make.  I can pop these babies in the oven and in no time I have a dessert for the family.

Baked Churros

  • 1 sheet frozen pastry puff, thawed
  • 1c sugar
  • 1T ground cinnamon
  • 1/2c melted butter

Preheat the oven to 450'
Cut the frozen pastry into 1" wide strips.
Bake on a cookie sheet for 8-10 minutes

Mix together the sugar and the cinnamon
When they are done baking, brush the sticks with the melted butter and roll them into the sugar and cinnamon mixture.

Recipe from Lovin' From the Oven

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Chile Colorado Burritos

I love Mexican food but since our favorite "hole-in-the-wall" Mexican restaurant moved and became too "Americanized" we haven't been able to find a place we like.  This recipe is every bit as good as any burrito that we've had in our old favorite restaurant and much better than the burritos we've found since.  It's easy to make but tastes like you've been slaving over the stove all day.  Even my kids love it; which is a huge plus.

  • 1 1/2 to 2lb stew meat or other beef cubed (top sirloin is great)
  • 1 large can mild red enchilada sauce (amount isn't too important but you need at least 19oz)
  • 2 beef bouillon cubes
  • 1/2 can re-fried beans
  • 5-7 burritos size flour tortillas (I recommend using the raw tortillas that you cook yourself.  They taste so much better)
  • 1c+ shredded cheddar cheese

Put the beef, bouillon, and enchilada sauce into a crock pot and cook on low for 7-8 hour or until the meat is very tender.  

When the beef is done (very tender and flakes when stirred) taste and add more salt if desired.  Heat up the refried beans in the microwave and put your oven on broil.  In a casserole dish, lay out a tortilla.  Place on tortilla about 1/2c of the meat, drained with a slotted spoon, and a spoonful of beans.  You can add a little shredded cheese also if you want to.  Roll into a burrito (tucking the sides in) and lay in your casserole dish.

When you've rolled all of your burritos, pour some of the remaining enchilada sauce from the crockpot over the burritos to cover them.  Sprinkle with some cheese. 

Broil until the cheese is bubbly, about 2-4 minutes.

Source: Food Pusher

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Antipasto Pizza

Homemade pizza is a staple in our home.  With our busy schedules I don't always have time to make a big meal but I also don't like how unhealthy and expensive it is to order pizza. Although the kids are happy to always have pepperoni and cheese pizza, it has started to get old for the adults.  So I'm always trying find new toppings for our pizzas.  This Antipasto pizza really hits the spot for us grown-ups.  I especially love the fresh basil on top.  I cooked the basil with the pizza but I think it would taste even fresher if you sprinkled it on after you pulled the pizza out of the oven.

Serving size: 1 slice   Calories: 303   Total Fat: 14g  Saturated Fat: 5g  
Cholesterol:  36mg    Sodium:  971mg   Carbs:  26g  Protein:  19g
Nutritional information is approximate depending on the crust and sauce you use.

  • 1 prebaked 12" pizza crust
  • 3/4c pizza sauce
  • 2c (8oz) shredded mozzarella cheese, divided
  • 1/2c roasted sweet red peppers, julienned
  • 1/2c marinated, quartered, artichoke hearts, drained
  • 1/4lb thinkly sliced hard salami, julienned
  • 1/4lb sliced deli ham, julienned
  • 1/4c minced fresh basil
Place the crust on an ungreased pizza pan.  Spread the sauce over the crust; sprinkle with 1c cheese.  Top with the red peppers, artichokes, salami, and ham; sprinkle with the remaining cheese.

Bake at 450' for 10-12 minutes or until the cheese is melted.  Sprinkle with the basil.

Source:  Taste of Home

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Bacon-Jalapeno Cheese Ball

This year my husband and I hosted the Superbowl party at our house.  Of course I wanted to try a bunch of new recipes for the event.  Unfortunately, some of them didn't turn out all that great and I won't be making them again but this cheeseball was delicious.  Because the jalapenos have been cored and seeded, there is almost no heat.  It was great and everyone loved it but next time I think I'll leave a few seeds; I like a little heat.

Bacon-Jalapeno Cheeseball

  • 6 slices of bacon, cooked - I recommend you bake it
  • 1/4c pecans, chopped
  • 8oz cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1/2c shredded cheddar cheese
  • 2T chopped parsley
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/4t ground cumin
  • pinch of cayenne pepper
  • 1t lime juice
  • 1/2t Worchestershire sauce (I ran out of this so I substituted Soy Sauce.  Worked great)
  • 2 jalapenos (ribs and seeds removed), finely chopped and divided
  • crackers (for serving)
Cook the bacon in the oven until crispy.  Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate.  Allow to cool, then crumble and divide in half.

After the bacon is done cooking, preheat the oven to 350'F.  Spread the pecans on a baking sheet and toast for 5-7 minutes, or until fragrant.

In a medium bowl, stir together the cream cheese, cheddar cheese, parsley, garlic, cumin, cayenne, lime juice, Worchestershire sauce, half of the minced jalapenos, and half of the crumbled bacon until well combined.  Season the mixture to taste with salt.

On a large plate, stir the toasted pecans, remaining minced jalapenos and remaining half of the bacon together until evenly distributed.  Shape the cream cheese mixture into a ball (the mixture will be sticky.  I found it was easier to shape if I just barely wet my hands first).  Roll the ball in the pecan mixture until coated on all sides.

Cover the ball and refrigerate for at least and hour before serving.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Construction Cake with "Construction Tape" inside

When my, then 2 year old, asked for a bulldozer cake for his 3rd birthday, I immediately thought of a 9x13 cake with sprinkles and a truck sitting on top.  Can we say BORING!?!  

I found this cake tutorial Fredellicios and decided to try it out.  While I love how the cake is decorated, my favorite (and most stressful part) was the cake itself.  I knew the theory behind what I was doing but it wasn't until I cut into the cake that I knew it had worked.  And now you're probably wondering what was so great about the inside of the cake, so let me show you ...

Construction Tape!!!
Seriously, didn't it just turn out so cute.  Sorry for all the crumbs but I quickly took the photos while party guests were waiting for their slices.

Construction Cake

  • 1 8" round White Cake, colored yellow
  • 1 8" round Chocolate Cake, colored black
  • 3 batches of Buttercream Frosting with Chocolate
  • Oreos, crushed
  • Candy Rocks
  • Small construction truck

I could type up all of these directions but Lauren, over at Fredellicious has done such a great photo tutorial, I thought I would just link to her site for this post.

This is the link for her Slanted Cake tutorial
and this is the link for her Construction Cake

Bottom Layer of my cake

Top layer of my cake

He absolutely loved his cake.

Yeah!!! The stripes worked

Buttercream Frosting

Buttercream Frosting

  • 1/2c (1 cube) butter, ROOM TEMPERATURE
  • 1 1/2c powdered sugar
  • 1t vanilla
  • 1-2T milk
  • 4oz Chocolate chips, melted (optional)

Cream the butter.

Add the powdered sugar, 1/2c at a time, mixing until it's fully incorporated before adding more.  It doesn't look like it will mix in right away, but just keep mixing and scraping the sides as needed, it will come together.

Once all the sugar is added, add the 1t vanilla (and the chocolate if you're using it), then mix on medium-high until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes.

This frosting is pretty thick as is, I like to use it like this for piping cupcakes and decorations.  But, if I'm going to frost a cake, I will add some milk to get a better spreading consistency.  This frosting is also good on sugar cookies.

This recipe doesn't make a whole lot (about the same as a container from the store) but it is really easy to double or even triple of you need a lot.

Source: Fredellicious

White (almond) Cake

Here's the recipe for the white cake I used in my Construction Tape cake.  I colored mine yellow to match but without food coloring, you'll get a nice white cake.  Also, even though this is called "white cake", I think a better name for it would be called "Almond Cake".  The almond extract in it gives this recipe a really good flavor and I got plenty of complements on the taste, when I served it, but it's not the traditional flavor of a white cake.

White (almond) Cake

Makes 2 8" round cakes

  • 1c milk, room temperature
  • 3/4c egg whites (about 4), room temperature
  • 1 1/2t almond extract
  • 1 1/2t vanilla extract
  • 1 3/4c cake flour
  • 1/2c all-purpose flour
  • 1 3/4c sugar
  • 4t baking powder
  • 1t salt
  • 12T (1 1/2 cubes) butter, softened
Preheat oven to 350'F and prepare 2 8" pans with spray and wax paper.

In a bowl, combine the milk, egg whites and extracts and whisk together with a fork.  Set aside.

Sift both flours together, add sugar, baking powder and salt.  Mix together on low speed with a standing or hand mixer.

Add the butter a little bit at a time, and mix together until it's all moist crumbs.

Reserve 1/2c of the egg/milk mixture, and add the rest to the dry ingredients.

Mix on medium speed with a standing mixer, using a paddle for 1 1/2 minutes.

Scrape the sides of the bowl, then add the rest of the milk mixture, and mix to combine, for at least 30 seconds.

**If you are adding color, be sure to add it before you start baking**

Divide evenly into the 2 pans, and cook for 22-25 minutes or until a toothpick in the middle comes out clean.

Let cakes sit in the pans for about 3 minutes, then invert them onto wire racks, remove the wax paper, then invert then again and let cool completely.

Source: Fredellicious

Chocolate Cake

Originally I was going to make one post that included 2 cake recipes,  2 frosting recipes and a cake decorating tutorial.  I decided that was probably a little too much to include in one post so I'm breaking each piece up individually.  Unfortunately, all my photos are from when a made one cake so you'll have with them and use your imagination, a little.  

This recipe is for the black stripe in the cake pictured above.  I used Hersey's Special Dark cocoa powder and black food coloring to get the cake so dark.  If you aren't trying to turn your cake black, you can use whichever cocoa powder you like the best.

Chocolate Cake

Makes 2 8" cakes

  • 1 1/3c flour
  • 1 2/3c sugar
  • 1/2c cocoa
  • 1 1/3t baking soda
  • 2/3t salt
  • 2/3c oil
  • 2/3c sour cream
  • 1c water
  • 4t vinegar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2t vanilla
Preheat oven to 350'F and prepare your pans with cooking spray and wax paper.

Sift together the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt.  Whisk to combine.

Add the oil and the sour cream - this will be thick.

Gradually beat in the water.

Add vinegar and vanilla and blend.

Whisk in the eggs and beat until well blended, scraping the sides of the bowl as needed.

Divide evenly into 2 prepared pans, and bake for 25-30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Let sit for 10 minutes, then invert onto a wire rack, remove the wax paper, and invert again onto a wire rack to let cool completely.

***Note - while this recipe tastes really good, it is a bit sticky.  I found that the best way to handle inverting it back-and-forth was to cover the wire rack (and my hands) with plastic wrap.  The cake won't stick to it and you'll have a lot less grief because the top of your cake won't be stuck to your hands.***

Source: Fredellicious

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Lasagna Soup

I have a friend, Carrian, who creates wonderful recipes.  Her site has become my "go-to" site for dinners because everything I've made off of it has turned out wonderful.  You really should head on over to Sweet Basil and check out everything she has on there.  You won't be disappointed.  

I found this recipe on her site and had to try it. It turned out really good and all of my kids loved it.  It's so wonderful (and rare) when all 3 of my kids are happy with the dinner I make.  

  • 1lb ground beef
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 green pepper, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 (32oz) box chicken broth
  • 2 (14,5oz) cans diced tomatoes
  • 1 (15oz) can tomato sauce
  • 1T brown sugar
  • 2T Italian Seasoning
  • 2T salt
  • 2c lasagna noodles, broken
  • 3/4c fresh parmesan cheese
  • mozzarella cheese, shredded
  • baguettes to serve with the soup

In a large pot, combine ground beef, onion, bell pepper and garlic.  Cook over med-high heat for 8-10 minutes, stirring occasionally until meat is browned.  Drain well.

Stir in broth, tomatoes, tomato sauce, brown sugar, Italian seasoning, and salt.  Bring to a boil over  medium-high heat; reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes.  Add noodles and simmer until the noodles are tender.  Add parmesan cheese.

Pre heat broiler.  Ladle soup into oven safe bowls, top with mozzarella and place under the broiler until the cheese is melted.

Brush the baguette slices with olive oil and broil until the bread starts to brown.  Serve along side the soup.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Mushroom Pasta Sauce

I have always enjoyed trying new foods and I am happy to try anything ONCE.  I'm happy to say, though, that this sauce is one that I will be trying again.  I was a little worried about putting dill into the sauce.  It didn't seem like it it would go with the other ingredients.  It ended up tasting really good and the dill gave it just enough flavor that it didn't taste like every other mushroom pasta sauce.

Mushroom Pasta Sauce

1/2lb mushrooms, sliced
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2T olive oil
1/2c chicken stock
1 1/2c cream
2T chopped fresh dill
Salt and pepper to taste
Fresh parmesan cheese
12oz pasta, whatever kind you have on hand

Cook pasta per package directions.

Saute mushrooms, onions and garlic in olive oil until the mushrooms start to golden and the onion is soft.

Add chicken stock, cream and dill.

Let simmer for 5 minutes and then season with salt and pepper.

Put the cooked pasta into a serving bowl and add your mushroom sauce.  Mix and serve with shaved parmesan on top.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Cheesy Jalapeno Popper Baked Stuffed Chicken

The first time I ever tasted a Jalapeno Popper was back when I was in college.  We had just finished an orchestra performance and as per tradition, headed over to Applebee's for a late dinner/celebration.  One of the performers worked at Applebee's and told us that they had this great appetizer that wasn't even on the menu.  He talked the cook into making some for us to try, and I've been addicted ever since.  

So, of course the idea of pairing Jalapeno Poppers with any main dish sounds awesome to me, but these little chicken rolls really were awesome.  And I love that I can eat them and not feel guilty because they are relatively low fat and low calorie.  

 Servings: 4    Serving Size: 2 stuffed breasts    Calories: 371
Fat:  17.5g    Protein: 42.7g    Carbs:  11g    Fiber:  1.5g
Sugar:  0.6g     Sodium: 355.8mg (without salt)

  • 2 slices center cut bacon, cooked and crumbled
  • 3 jalapenos, chopped (remove seeds for milder flavor)
  • 3oz "1/3 less fat" cream cheese, softened
  • 4oz reduced fat shredded cheedar jack cheese
  • 2T chopped scallions
  • 8 thin sliced chicken breast cutlets, 3oz each
  • 1/2c Italian seasoned whole wheat breadcrumbs
  • 1 1/2 juicy limes, juice of
  • 1T olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • olive oil non-stick cooking spray
Season chicken with salt and pepper.   Preheat oven to 450'.  Lightly spray a baking dish wiht non-stick spray.

Combine cream cheese, cheddar, scallions, jalapenos and bacon crumbles in a medium bowl.

Lay the chicken cutlets on a working surface and spread 2T of the cream cheese mixture on each cutlet.  Loosely roll each one, secure the ends with toothpicks to prevent the cheese from oozing out.

Place breadcrumbs in a bowl.

In a second bowl, combine the olive oil, lime juice, salt and pepper.

Dip the chicken in the lime-oil mixture, then in the breadcrumbs and place seam side down on a baking dish. Repeat with the remaining chicken.  When finished, lightly spray the top of the chicken with oil spray.

Bake for 22-25 minutes.  Serve immediately

On a side note, this filling also tastes wonderful as a cracker dip.  Yum!

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Sweet & Spicy Bacon Chicken

I love this chicken.  It was so quick to but together and it really tastes great.  I made 12 pieces (4 chicken breasts) because my children have been on a "chicken strike" for a while now.  I figured we would have leftovers and I would get a nice lunch the following day.  Nope, my kids loved it.  They each ate 3 or 4 helpings and Dear Hubby and I had to make PB and Honey sandwiches later because the kids ate all of our chicken.

I cooked the chicken in the oven because, well, it's 6'F outside and I'm pretty sure Dear Hubby isn't willing to barbecue in that weather no matter how good the chicken is.  This would taste wonderful on the grill, though and I'm planning on trying it as soon at the weather warms a bit.

Sweet & Spicy Bacon Chicken 

  •  4 Chicken breasts cut into thirds (12 pieces)
  • 12 bacon slices (if you use thick slices, add a couple minutes to the cooking time)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Garlic powder
  • Chili powder
  • Brown sugar
Cut each breast into 3 pieces, season all the chicken wiht the spices, then wrap a bacon slice around each piece, roll in brown sugar and place in an oven proof dish ... make sure to spray your dish with cooking spray or coat in olive oil.

Bake at 400' for 30-40 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through and the bacon is nice and brown and crispy.